Part 3: Peragus: Jesus Looks For Pants
Where did we last leave off?
The thing is, they never had the time/inclination to make an animation for droids being disabled or stunned, so every time it happens, they use the "blown the fuck up" animation. This happens a few more times in the game, and every time you get a little worried, but seconds later the droid is up and about again.
"Hey, what do you know - that little cargo cylinder came through."
"It looks like it. But it's strange he didn't contact us on the comm."
"If he got the turbolifts working, then we should have a clear run to the hangar."
"The turbolifts are locked down manually, so I had him open the emergency hatch."
"Wait, wait. Don't tell me you're taking that hatch down into the mining tunnels... are you?"
"That explosion I heard came from below. There's probably nothing down there except superheated rock and collapsed blast tunnels. You'd be an idiot to go down there."
What can I say, Jesus is a really nice guy.
"You're either really brave or really crazy - or both."
"All right - I'll try to monitor things from up here. Be careful - the only thing moving down there is likely to be mining droids, so don't be playing hero too hard."
So off we go to the first dungeon area of the game.
And we immediately find some pants. No more chunky butt Jesus!
That about sums it up.
We're down in the Peragus (asteroid) mines, which was where the initial gas explosions occurred. I'm not sure what the hell kind of fuel they could possibly mine from here.
There's a couple of new types of enemies, including some melee droids for some reason.
And also some asshole droids with flamethrowers. These really hurt if you don't make the save, actually.
There's also these little remote droids that run around healing the other droids. I'm not totally sure, but I think this is the one and only time you see enemies working with each other instead of just rushing you.
This is the central terminal in the mines. It's a nifty centerpiece for the level; there's some concept art here for comparison:
It's actually pretty close to the original drawing.
"You're getting close to something big - I think it's the main ventilation shaft."
"That explosion has super-heated the tunnels ahead. That steam'll cook the skin off your bones."
This is a mini puzzle here. The purple force fields are holding back about 8 or 9 droids, so you're not really suppose to take them all on without sabotaging them first (although the game is easy enough that you can). You get a bunch of options on the center console.
You can only do one, so the easiest is making the droids kill each other.
We only had to kill 4 out of the 12 or so left on this level. The rest killed each other. Works for me.
There's one more thing to check on the computer of course: holograms!
Ugh it's Judas again.
"Forget the siphons. You know that survivor they pulled from the freighter? One of the miners said they served with him on Malachor V."
"Malachor V? So he's one of the survivors - or worse, a Mandalorian. So what?"
"Not a survivor, idiot, he's one of the Jedi from Malachor V."
Wow, I'm so glad some random backwater miner in the middle of nowhere knows EVERYTHING about us.
"If he's one of the Jedi - hell, we can't have him walking around here - he'll... I don't know what he'll do."
"I thought all the Jedi were wiped out in the civil war. Weren't they?"
"Guess they missed one. But it gets better - I did some checking, and that bounty on Nar Shaddaa's still live."
"Wh... you want to sell the Jedi to the Exchange? Coorta, have you been chewing spice?"
"There's no way the officers will go for that. They'll lock us up for sure."
At this point Atton chips in to inform us the whole mine is about to go EXPLODEY.
The force fields we shut down were holding in the heat. Or holding out the heat. Or something.
He also helpfully closes the hatch where we came from, and cutting off our escape. See, Atton is a huge dick. I think I want Carth back .
Anyway, nowhere to go but foward.
The overly dramatic escape from the mines.
And now we're in the maintainence area. Surprise, more bodies.
I'll explain what's suppose to be the big reveal here. The last few holograms have had people being very suspicious of the droid maintainence officer, because a) the droids are all going crazy and killing people, and b) he's suppose to be responsible for dealing with them. So all along the level, you're led to believe the guy had something to do with the murders. Then you get here and the camera pans around to his face, and you find he's already dead. It's another horror/suspense movie trick.
The problem is, they gave him that ridiculous orange hair and those stupid goggles. You can't take him seriously as a potential villain if he looks like that. Honestly, the goggles. C'mon guys.
Another interesting choice here. To maintain the creepiness, you don't even see who's talking at first.
The NPC literally isn't in the room when you enter; he spawns in behind the player as the player's bending over the body. It's the equivalent of tapping someone on the shoulder and making them jump.
And we finally meet our mysterious creepy fellow. He should look familiar to KOTOR 1 players as HK, but the Exile isn't suppose to know him yet, so we'll play along. He seems to have gotten a new paint job though. Hmmm...
"Who was your previous Master?"
"Answer: The captain of the Harbinger, master. I was in transit to Telos to facilitate communications and terminate hostilites... However, we did not arrive at our intended destination."
"How did you get here from the Harbinger - and how did I?"
"Irritated Answer: Oh, Master, it is such a long, dull story. And not terribly relevant to our current situation."
"Hesitant Explanation: That has been the subject of considerable discussion since our arrival here, master. Many have attempted to claim you and this unit as salvage."
"I was crudely interrogated concerning our brief history together on board the Harbinger... before its communications, weapons, and engines suffered the cascade failure that disabled the ship."
I love the barely restrained glee at the chaos and destruction throughout the dialogue.
"Clarification: Yes, Master. No doubt the flurry of destruction on board the Harbinger somehow drugged you into a stupor from which you could not awaken. Most curious."
The last Jedi in the galaxy... taken out by Juma juice. HK sure made Jesus his bitch.
"I meant to communicate only that you were somehow rendered unconscious before you were locked securely in the cargo hold."
"So I wasn't sealed in the cargo hold - someone locked me in."
"Clarification: By locked, I meant "sealed," Master. My vocabulator seems to be malfunctioning."
Not suspicious at all.
"What was this freighter that the Harbinger brought on board?"
"Explanation: I believe it was a smuggler's vessel by the name of the 'Ebon Hawk.'"
"Suffice to say that once we arrived at this floating rock, our situation became much clearer."
"Explanation: Despite my market value, master, the miners were far more interested in you. It did not take long for me to ascertain the reason for this."
"I was forced to remind myself it was not due to a failing of my model or function, but because you were a Jedi."
"How did they find out I was a Jedi?"
And there it is. He set off the whole chain of events just by mentioning Jesus was a Jedi. Maybe it was an accident?
"Answer: All that has happened, has been because they believe you to be a Jedi, Master. They debated what to do with you as you lay unconscious in the medical bay."
"Three standard hours after the division between the miners became apparent, accidents began to occur throughout the facility. A result of improper maintenance, I believe. "
"These accidents coincided with the degradation of the mining droid behavioral cores... *shakes head, mock sympathy* crude models are prone to such failures, resulting in murderous rampages. The mortality rate of organics in the facility rose quickly."
"Many miners began to join you in the medical bay as a cascade of flawlessly timed detonations occurred in isolated gas pockets in the lower levels of the facility."
"Sadly enough? What do you mean?"
"You see, the explosions had damaged specific sections of this facility's ventilation systems, causing a slow, lethal build up of toxic fumes in the dormitory level. "
"Are there any left alive?"
"Answer: I do not know, Master. Ironically enough, any miner that fled to the dormitory level to protect themselves from the droids and the explosions would find themselves in a gas-filled deathtrap."
Well, Jesus is not stupid:
"Are you responsible for all this?"
In case you can't tell, this is an extremely long conversation. If you're wondering I just spent like the entire update on this, I'll take a break here to explain why.
The one common thread that seems to run throughout Chris Avellone penned games is these memorable conversations that serve as setpieces. For most RPGs dialogues it's almost like reading a Wikipedia entry. The point is usually to:
a) Introduce the NPC
b) Hit the necessary plot exposition
c) Point the player towards the next objective
It's a "get in fast, get out fast" sort of approach, but it seems like designers don't like to let dialogues go on too long. They're afraid players would get bored reading pages and pages of with no action and no whizbanging.
Obsidian/Black Isle games on the other hand, aren't afraid of just letting the player sit there for 10 minutes talking to an NPC. In fact they build entire levels around just the NPC dialogue. Like this level, it's fairly big, but there's really nothing in it except HK. That requires a lot of faith in the quality of writing, and usually it pulls through. You might remember similarly long scenes in NWN2 like the trial, or the dead dragon. Atris later in this game. Also you might remember this:
Which is again, another big level with basically nothing in it except a 10 minute dialogue with an NPC.
The one thing all these conversations have in common is that the NPC in question is basically hostile to you. It's not a typical, pump-them-for-information by going down every conversation tree sort of deal. You have to figure when they're lying to you, trick them to tell them what you want, etc. It's not so much like an interrogation, as per a normal 'conversation'; there's a lot more jockeying back and forth, and feels more real. It's also probably the only way to keep such a long conversation interesting.
Anyway, back to KOTOR2...
"Do you know who administered sedatives into the kolto tanks in the medical bay, killing the incapacitated miners?"
"Conjecture: The administration of a large dose of sedatives over a short period of time would likely prove fatal to miners, although not to a Jedi."
"For a Jedi, it would simply render them unconscious for ease of transport. *Admiring* Quite inventive."
"Answer: I was merely commenting on the idea itself, Master, not the execution of the idea. Though that, too, was inventive."
"Have you seen a T3 unit?"
"Where did you leave the droid, Master? That would logically be the best place to look."
"The unit was last seen near the hangar."
Does he have anything useful to say? At all? How about we ask him how to get out of here.
"I am looking for a way into the Peragus hangar bay."
"Condescending Explanation: Master, the console governing the droid maintenance area... and the airlock... is voice-printed. "
Ugh. Those goggles!
Now we KNOW it's not HK-47 repainted, he definitely would have said "Meatbag" instead.
The whole time HK's been trying to lie to us, and at the same time unable to stop himself from showing off his kills.
So the answer to the mini-puzzle here is to use his own arrogance against him.
A long, long time later in a galaxy far, far away, this would be called a tape recorder.
"What's that body there?"
"I heard his dying screams as the droids he tended turned on him, mining him like a piece of asteroid rock."
"[Sonic Sensor] Can you play back the maintenance officer's last words?"
"Recitation: Oh yes, Master. The record of his last moments were:"
I love how he calmly plays back someone's dying screams.
"Wait - if you can playback his voice, can't you speak the voice code?"
"Objection: Master! To commit such an act would be in violation of the ethics programming most droids are believed to possess. I am afraid there is nothing that can be done."
Jesus is the 9 year old who tells his friend, "I bet you can't stick your tongue in the light socket." Except with a bigger vocabulary.
Thank YOU. Now we just enter that voice code into the computer...
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on.